tv American Perspectives CSPAN August 1, 2009 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT
and the assurance that private property will not be taken for anything by the government other than public use. then there is the new haven firefighter case that others have spoken about. it is not just the decision the judge made without substantial evidence that -- it is also the manner in which they refused to give a fair consideration of the firefighters claims and the way that i would hope that every federal judge will. many of her public statement about judging include very radical ideas on the role of a judge and on society. some have said that we cannot consider those, but to consider only those judicial record and
about the statement she has made about how judges should perform in office, i think it's an incomplete picture. she has said that there is no neutrality in the law. she has said that legal uncertainty is a good thing because that allows judges to change the law and to make policy. she has said that foreign law can get the procreative juices flowing for judges to interpret the united states constitution and that ethnicity and gender should have an impact on a judge's decision making. those are hard to square with her sole standard as a judge which is fidelity to the law. i think that demonstrates the conundrum that many of us are left with. this committee gave her the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind some of her
most controversial decisions as well as some of her public statements about the judging and to allow her to put that into in a corporate context. i do not believe she cleared up the confusion as to what type of justice she will be. i have no confidence which judge we will see on the supreme court. i will vote against the nomination. the stakes are too high. this is someone who could be defined the law of the land from the bench. and many senators take the position that she will not addressed legal questions from a liberal active perspective. i hope they are right. i hope their testimony before this committee represents a teaching moment, a moment that the final hour consensus on what the proper role of a judge should be. in the past, we get at the heated disagreements about
judicial philosophy and activism. we have invaded the original understanding versus the constitution. the remarkable thing happened during the course of her confirmation hearings. we have seem to have agreed that judges should interpret the law, not make the law. we seem to agree that judges should rely upon the original incentive of the framework of the constitution not on for a law or international law. we seem to agree that judges should apply the law faithfully and not move the law in one direction or another based on their own policy preferences. we agree that judges should be impartial and not big winners and losers based on some of the subjective and that the standards for what ever is in the judge's part. mr. chairman, i think we have come remarkably close to embracing a standard where he
called the judiciary 1 detrick other type of branch, having neither the force nor will, merely judgment. if that is the case, i think we would have accomplished much in the course of this confirmation process. i would find that consensus encouraging to divine where the judicial mainstream is. we have made clear that radical views on judging have no place on the federal bench. we have set expectations for future nominees. and he. on the fe future nominees. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks. thank you, senator cornyn. and senator durbin. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. a few weeks ago my colleague and friend senator al franken came to my office the day after he was sworn in. we talked about his new role in the united states senate and
some of the challenges he'd already faced, and he talked about the first three votes that he cast as a united states senator. i tried to remember the first three votes i cast as a united states senator. i couldn't. after you've served in the house and senate for a period of time you come to realize that you have to be reminded on some of these votes, but there are some votes that you will remember for a lifetime. one of them is a vote on would our nation should go to war. that is a type of vote that you'll always remember. it's one of the most important decisions we make, and so is this decision because we're here asked to judge whether a man or a woman should be appointed for life to sever on the united states supreme court. the court that defines our personal rights to privacy, decides the restrictions that can be placed on the most personal aspects of our lives and our freedom. the supreme court decides the rights of workers, consumers, immigrants and discrimination victims. the nine justices decide whether
congress has the authority to pass laws, to protect our civil rights and our environment. they decide what checks will govern the executive branch in war and in peace. because these issues are so important, we obviously need justices with intelligence, knowledge of the law, proper judicial temperament and a commitment to impartial justice. in the 220-year history of the united states, 110 supreme court justices have served under our constitution. 106 of them have been white males. we have had two women justices and two african-americans. that's why this is such an historic moment because president obama's nomination, sonia sotomayor, is indeed ground -- breaking. in life and in our nation, if you want to be the first, you have to be the best. sonia sotomayor's resume i think meets that standard. when you take a look at her
life, her splendid life story, you may not be able to see it as some of us have seen it from this side of the table. we sat there during the course of this hearing as judge sotomayor told her life story, and i spent more time watching her mother than watching her. her mom who nodded as judge sotomayor told that story of growing up in public housing, losing her father when she was 9 years old, struggling to succeed against adversity and illness of reaching the pinnacle of success and academic achievement rat princeton and the same at yale law school, the serving as a prosecutor, going on to be selected by president george herbert walker bush to serve in the federal judiciary and then promoted by president bill clinton, a rare occurrence that someone receives bipartisan support for their judicial service which she had, and each time as those facts are
recounted i watched her mother nodding, recalling what her daughter had achieved. what a great story it is for america, and what a great story it is that president obama would give us a chance to consider judge sotomayor to serve as the first hispanic woman on the united states supreme court. for many who oppose judge sotomayor, her life achievements and her judicial record are just not good enough. after poring over 3,000 court decisions and hundreds of her speeches, judge sotomayor's critics focused their opposition primarily, not exclusively, but primarily on one case, the ricci case, and on one sentence from one speech. i hope someone was keeping track of how many times those three words wise latina woman were quoted during the course of this hearing. senator after senator asked her what did you really, really, really mean with those three
words over and over again. we are senators who live in a world of decisions and votes every day, and we understand when our decisions and votes are questioned and challenged often in an unfair fashion. if we vote in a way that's controversial, we ask that people be fair and judge us on our life's work, not on a single vote. it's a standard we ask for ourselves but obviously for some it's not a standard they would give judge sotomayor when it comes to her decisions. we also live in a world of senators of revised and extended remarks, jokes that flop and verbal gaffs. many want to condemn sonia sotomayor for otherwise latina remark that she conceded was a rhetorical flourish that fell flat. i listened carefully to what she had to say, and i noted at the end of the day that she had received the highest possible
rating from the american bar association which interviewed 500 judges and practitioners in order to assess her integrity, competence and temperament, the highest possible rating. in my state of illinois the conservative "shik trchicago tr said this of her testimony. in four days of testimony under often intense questioning, judge sotomayor handled herself with grace and patience. she displayed a thorough knowledge of case law and appreciation of her critics' concern. the result was to reinforce a strong case that she will make a good supreme court justice and deserves senate approval. a lot has been said about the issue of empathy and this question of the wise latina woman. i pointed out when i asked judge sotomayor that the wise latina speech contains a line that her critics didn't often quote, and that line judge sotomayor noted in the same speech that it was
nine white male justices on the supreme court who unanimously handed down "brown versus board of education" and other cases upholding sex and race discrimination. judge sotomayor made it clear at her hearing that she believes that no single race or gender has a monopoly on good judgment. for some of my colleagues sonia sotomayor's statements under oath are not good enough. i would hope that senators would be wise enough themselves to look at judge sotomayor's long record on the bench and not on one line in one speech taken out of context. now let's be honest. a great deal of this debate is about diversity. why do we seek diversity when it comes to appointments to the federal bench? first, we are a diverse nation. second, we want every american to believe they have an equal opportunity to succeed and lead, but we also want every american,
black, white and brown, male and female, to know that our system of government is fair. we want all americans to look at our congress and our courts and feel their leaders can identify with the diversity of life experience in this great diverse nation. does anyone really believe that there is a clear objective answer in every case that comes before the supreme court, that precedent is so clear and the law is so clear? well, if they do, try to explain why one-third of all the rules of that court in the past term were decided by a 5-4 vote. does anyone really believe the supreme court's recent strip search case would have come out the same way if justice ginsberg, the only woman on the court at this moment, hadn't helped her eight male colleagues understand what it's like for a 13-year-old girl to be treated in such a humiliating fashion? does anyone really believe that women judges haven't helped their male colleagues understand
the realities of sex discrimination and sex harassment in a workplace? study after study has shown that men and women on the bench sometimes rule differently in discrimination cases. this doesn't mean their rules are based on personal bias. it simply acknowledges that americans see the world through a prism of varied experiences and perspectives. our supreme court justices should possess an equally rich and wide field of vision as they interpret the facts and the law. criticizing judge sotomayor for recognizing this reality is unfair. mr. chairman, something has happened since we concluded the hearings which is unusual. a major lobby group in washington, d.c., the national rifle association, has for the first time notified their members and colleagues that this is going to be on the scorecard. the gun lobby, the national rifle association, has come out in opposition to judge sotomayor. i believe it's the first time >> most of the criticism of her
on this issue is focused on that case. in that case, she came to the exact same conclusion as the panel of the seventh circuit in my home state of illinois, which featured two of our most conservative icons on the bench. they concluded that only the supreme court, not appellate court could overrule supreme court precedent on whether the second amendment right to bear arms supplies to states. i realize the nra does not like that ruling. it wanted her to do with the ninth circuit did an overrule it. in the mulally case, she did what an appellate court should do as she followed the law. the nomination is the third supreme court nomination i have voted on in my years of service. because the stakes are so high, i believe these nominations carry the burden of proof when they come before the senate.
they must prove that they are worthy of a lifetime of plummet to the highest court in the land. america will be well served if sonia sotomayor becomes a justice. i enthusiastically support her nomination. >> thank you. lly support her nomination. >> thank you, senator durbin. senator coburn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm trying to figure out how to catch -- couch my words since i've just been condemned because i'm the -- the basis of my vote might not be on something that senator durbin would think to be appropriate. i would mention that the ninth circuit ruled the opposite of your circuit, senator durbin on the second amendment, and i would also note for the record that the very person on our side that questioned surge sotomayor on otherwise latina comment was the very member that's going to be voting for her.
he had more questions of her than anyone on our side on that regard, so i think it's somewhat unfair to characterize us with a broad brush. i'm proud that president obama has nominated such a distinguished woman. i identify with senator cole and senator feingold. the great disturbance that we have that we can't get real answers in these hearings. i believe what we say as judges truly does come from our heart. most of her speeches were before teaching moments through either students or legal societies or others, and i believe she believed in what she was saying, and i also believe she has great credit that she -- a lot of times that she's not allowed her personal beliefs to influence her judgments, but the
dissonance that i came away with is what you believe you ought to stand up for and defend and then defend your record to be able to say i can still be a great judge, but on the two questions, the two questions when she was asked, one, about foreign law and her outside very critical very negative statements about justices scalia and thomas and then -- and then to walk away from that saying that she didn't say that is just flat not accurate, and then also to finally come to a point recognizing the supreme court justices' job is not to think about what the rest of the world thinks about us. their job is to interpret the constitution and to use the statutes and our constitution and the facts. i think she is one impressive
individual, and i thoroughly enjoyed her. i like her a lot, but that's not good enough for me, and it doesn't have anything to do with other than whether or not i believe with confidence, with confidence, that she has an understanding of the second amendment, the five-day amendment, the 14th amendment and the 4th amendment, and although i will have a complete written statement for the record, she is going to be on the court for life. they get to change it, and we all know the major instances and shifts in this country that have taken about when they have done so, so i go back to what senator cole said when we started out. we need to change the rules for the hearings. we need to let judges really know, let us know what they think but also sell us on the fact that they in fact are impartial dividers of the truth,
regardless of what they think. that's the characteristic of a great judge is that their personal thoughts don't enter, that they take the facts, all of the facts and decide what the ruling will be on the basis of that and that only. to have something other than that on the supreme court, which i agree on both sides of the aisle has happened, hurts us in the long run, so i -- i align myself with the comments of senators feingold and cole in hoping that future hearings, although i think it was a remarkable hearing. the chairman did a great job, and i think the american people got to see a great deal of this very fine woman. i regret that i cannot vote for her, and i can't vote for her not because she's a latina woman, and i can't vote for her because she has said all those things. i can't vote for her because she wouldn't defend what she said and stand up and say i really
believe this, but i can still be a great judge anyway, because i will never let that interfere with my judgment, and that's what i was looking for, and it wasn't there. with that i yield. >> senator cardin. >> well, mr. chairman, first, let me observe, this is my first opportunity to participate in the confirmation process of a supreme court justice, and i just want to thank you, mr. chairman, chairman leahy, for the manner in which he has conducted this hearing. i want to thank senator sessions for the fairness in which he worked with our chairman so that each one of us would have the opportunity to ask as many questions as we want to get all the information. i might point out i've been told by staff that there were 17 questions asked on a wise latina, so we not only compliment judge sotomayor for her patience and i want to
compliment the chairman and ranking member for their patience in allowing each of us to pursue the information we thought that was relevant in evaluating judge sotomayor's qualifications to serve on the supreme court of the united states. i believe judge sotomayor's background and her professional accomplishments will add strength, balance and leadership to the supreme court. her personal story that we've heard about being part of an immigrant family from puerto rico, the fact that she received a scholarship to be able to attend college is an inspirational story about success in our country. we know of her professional background as a prosecutor, a trial judge and appellate judge, having more judicial experience than any nominee to the supreme court in 100 years. her command of legal precedent and her ability to challenge attorneys in their legal arguments will bode well to reach the right decisions in the
supreme court of the united states. her leadership ability in forging consensus among the judges in the second circuit will be a talent that i think will be very helpful in the supreme court of the united states. she is mainstream in her judicial decisions and opinions. with a correct sense of the role of a judge to decide a case based on sound legal precedent and the facts of the case giving due deference to the congress of the united states. she has a record of understanding the constitution and the bill of rights as a timeless document, able to protect individual rights against the abuses of power, applying these protections to contemporary challenges. she follows precedent to advance individual rights. i get -- you get confidence that she will reach the right
decisions for the right reasons not only based upon her response to our questions, and she answered every one of our questions, but in reviewing her decisions and her opinions. that's where i think we should spend most of our attention. so let me just mention a few. i have confidence that she will follow the protections that congress has passed in protecting our environment, the river keeper case gives me that confidence. have confidence that she understands the importance of freedom of speech in the decision that she reached in baptist versus giuliani. the speech there was repugnant. all of us find repugnant, but she understands the importance of the constitutional protect n protections. i have confidence that she will pursue freedom of religion. the "ford versus mcguinnes" case where she protected the rights of religious freedom for a minority, whose religious practice is not as well known by the majority in our population.
she protected the civil rights of americans in equal opportunity and racial justice. he with the gant case where she did that in our schools, protecting the rights of an african-american. the boykin case where she protected the rights in housing matters which are very important today. we know that there is predatory practices against minorities in our community. i have confidence that she understands those concerns. i was particularly impressed by her commitment on voting rights in response to my question acknowledging that this is a fundamental right. she showed in the hayden case a deference for following congress and protecting voting rights. it's going to be particularly important as we look at the voting rights act, and she has shown an understanding of privacy rights. now here we don't have court cases that we can look at, but her response to our questions and her background give me confidence that she will respect legal precedent and advance privacy in the 21st century.
as i said in the beginning, mr. chairman, this is my first opportunity to participate in the confirmation process of a supreme court nominee. three years ago i told the people of maryland how i would judge judicial nominations, by their experience, their temperament and their understanding of the constitution of the united states. for all these reasons i will vote for the confirmation of judge sotomayor to be justice southior. >> thank you very much, senator cardin. i appreciate that. senator whitehouse. >> thank you, chairman, and thank you for your wise and fair leadership of these confirmation proceedings. i also thank the ranking member for his fairness and courtesy throughout the proceedings. i will be proud to vote in support of judge sotomayor's confirmation to the united states supreme court. i appreciate, as i know the chairman and others do, her background as a prosecutor, and i believe her non-conversion
17-year record as a federal judge makes clear that she's dedicated to the rule of law, has a proper judicial temperament and gives every party before her a fair hearing. i also believe the unequivocal pledge that judge sotomayor gave me, that she will respect the role of congress as representive of the american people, that she will decide cases based on the law and the facts, that she will not pre-judge any case but listen to every party that comes before her, and that she will respect precedent and limit herself to the issues that the court must decide. in short, that she will use the broad discretion of a supreme court justice wisely. she promised that, and i take her at her word. mr. chairman, i think we are witness here to an effort to define justice in america in alignment with a particular point of view.
my colleagues ren titled to their point of view. they are entitled to their point of view about guns. they are entitled to their point of view about property rights. they are entitled to their point of view about other issues. what i resist is any effort to define that point of view as a judicial norm against which any other point of view is to be seen as an aberration, as biases and prejudices to use one quotation. in this case i further believe that their definition of justice in america, their definition, is just plain wrong, both as history and as justice. in particular i do not wish to force as the new judicial norm the sort of judges who, to paraphrase a recent article on the supreme court, in every major case vote for the corporation against the individual, for the government
against the criminal defendant and for the executive branch against the legislature. i do not wish judges without empathy who will ignore the long and proud history of the courtroom as the last stand for many beleaguered americans where they can get fearless with the judges willing to provide that feel of justice, even if it completes the upset the status quo -- i would add that i find no fault in judges who will not at the price of the court commit to expanding our work individual right to own guns. a right that no supreme court in 220 years as previously noticed and was created in a decision. that was by a divided court. i will with pride support her
nomination. it is an honor to serve on this committee and to vote for such a talented person. we all realize that she will have historic it -- historical significance. she will be an excellent justice, which is most important. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. we appreciate your comments. we will now go to our next senator. former prosecutor. please go ahead. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i want to thank you and the ranking member for having such a civil and dignified human. i've heard some people say that it got boring at times. maybe that is why it was civil undignified. i remember her mother sitting
behind her -- that of sonia sotomayor. e father died at age 9, judge sotomayor was raised by that mother who had hardly any money and nurse, saved all the money just to buy their family incyclopedia britanicas and when you watch that family and brothers it reminded you that judge sotomayor knows the law and she knows the constitution, but she also knows america. one experience of hers in particular resonates with me, and that is that immediately after graduating from law school that she became a prosecutor, and i believe that that experience in my discussions will her will forever shape how she views the law. as a prosecutor after you've interacted with victims of crime, after you've seen the damage that crime does to individual families and to communities, you know that the law is not just an abstract sun. it's not just a book in your
basement. you see how the law has a real impact on the lives of real people. judge sotomayor's experience as a prosecutor tells me that she meetsz one of my criteria for the supreme court justice. i'm looking for someone who deeply appreciates the power and the impact that laws and the criminal justice system have on real people's lives. in addition to her work as a prosecutor, we learned a lot about judge sotomayor's long record as a judge. she came into this as a nominee with more federal trial judge, federal court experience than any nominee in 100 years. now i believe that my colleagues on this committee ren titled to oppose judge sotomayor's nomination if they wish, but i do get concerned when people return again and again and again to a quote in so much speeches, and i was so pleased that senator graham, my colleague from south carolina, put those speeches in some context. you have to look at her whole
experience. you have to look at her 17 years as a judge. you have to look at the fairness that she brings to this job. in the words of senator moynihan, you are entitled to your own opinion, but are you not entitled to your own facts, and in this case the facts are her judicial. the nominee was repeatedly questioned about whether she would let bias or prejudice infect her judging. she was questioned for hours. she was questioned for days, but, again, the facts don't support this kind of bias. in race discrimination cases, for example, judge sotomayor voted against plaintiffs 81% of the time. her decisions are supported by precedent. when she served on panels with republican-appointed judges, she agreed with them 95% of the time. i appreciated senator durbin's discussion of the maloney case as i agree with the hellor case but the heller case specifically left open the case that judge
sotomayor was confronted with in the maloney case, and, in fact, the decision that she and her colleagues came to was the same decision that that three-judge panel on the seventh circuit came to which conclude judge eastabrook and the law professor at the university of chicago who was there when i was there and they are not rabid liberals and i'm just wondering if people would be using that same case against them if they were before us today as was used against judge sotomayor. judge sotomayor also handed out longer jail sentences than her colleagues sass a district court judge and sentenced white collar criminals to six months in prison 48% of the time whereas her other colleagues did so 34%ves time and in drug cases 85.5% of convicted drug offenders received a prison sentence of at least six months from judge sotomayor compared with only 79% in her colleagues' case. the nominee was questioned repeatedly about issues ranging
from the death penalty to use of foreign law, even though she rejected a defendant's challenge to the death penalty in the one death penalty case that she considered as a district court judge, and even though she has never cited foreign law to help her interpret a provision of the united states constitution. again, the facts are in her judicial. she received a unanimous positive rating from the aba? why, because she is a thorough judge who bases her decisions on the facts. she was supported by prosecutors across the country and by police across the country. why? because they looked at her record, and they trusted her decision-making. i think just about everything in the nominee's professional record is a fair game to consider and that's why i believe that this was a civil and dignified hearing, but that said when people focus on a few items in a few speeches you have to wonder do a few statements that someone made in an entire career trump 17 years of modest,
reasoned, careful judicial decision-makeing? there is one other point that i wanted to address that hasn't been addressed and that's because it irritated me, and that was the issues that were raised about the stories and comments mostly anonymous that questioned judge sotomayor's judicial temperament. according to one news story about this topic judge sotomayor developed a reputation for asking tough questions at oral arguments and for being sometimes brisk and kurt with lawyers who were were not prepared to answer them. well, where i come from, asking tough questions and having very little patience for unprepared lawyers is the very definition of being a judge. as a lawyer you owe it to the bench and to your clients to be as well prepared as you possibly can. when justice ginsberg was asked about these anonymous comments regarding judge sotomayor's temperament recently, she rhetorically asked has anybody watched scalia or breyer up on
the bench? surely we've come to a point in this country where we can appoint as many rough to the point female judges as we've confirmed rough to the point male judges. in short, mr. chairman, i'm proud to support judge sotomayor's nomination, and i believe she will make an excellent supreme court justice. she knows the law, and she knows the constitution, but she knows america, too. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, senator klobuchar, and next senator kaufman. >> mr. chairman, i would like to begin by others have commended you and the ranking member on running an excellent hearing, a fair hearing. >> thank you. >> and everyone had a chance to speak. everyone had a chance to ask questions, and it was just very, very well-run. >> thank you. >> judge sotomayor is an outstanding nom she. she has the superior intellect, broad experience, superb judge and unquestioned integrity. she would be a terrific choice
at any time, but given our current economic crisis and the likely role of the court in reviewing legislative responses to that crisis i submit that she's the ideal nominee at this time. one thing we've learned over the last two years is that we must reform our financial markets. judge sotomayor's extensive experience as a commercial litigator, business lawyer, judge in base cases and the passion for the law that she has demonstrated throughout her career suggests that she will be a leader on the court in business and regulatory issues at a time when such leadership is essential. as i said, she will be an excellent nominee and especially at this time. mr. chairman, would i also like to have my statement of july 24th i made on the floor entered into the record of this meeting. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. >> next is senator specter who is former chairman of this committee and one of the most
knowledgeable lawyers in the senate. senator specter. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will vote to confirm judge sotomayor. she brought to the confirmation proceedings an extraordinary record, none better on the 11 i've participated in or non-better than any i've reviewed. pretty tough to be suma cum laude at princeton and pretty tough to make the yale law school admission, even tougher to become a member of the yale law review. then an outstanding prosecutor and the dean of american prosecutors, d.a. morgenthau came to testify about how she good she was, an extraordinary record professionally, private practice, distinguished record
on the bench, and those qualifications add up to about an a-plus. the krit simpz made of her on the wise latina woman i thought were not only ill-founded but i appreciated the comment. when you consider that women were not given the right to vote until 1920 and when you consider, may the record show a smile from senator feinstein, when you consider -- when you consider that there are still a tremendous glass ceiling, when you consider lily ledbetter and you go on and on and on about the appropriateness of women standing up for women. if a woman doesn't stand up for women i wouldn't think much of her, and -- and senator durbin
had a poetic sequence of questions about women's insights that are sdincht from men's insights, and believe me as a senator who came here with one come senator, senator kassebaum and the second was added, it's a very different place today with 17 women and a much better place, and there was a book out "nine women and growing why the "and now it's 17 that will grow even more to the benefit of this institution, and when she refers to being a latino, it's a little ethnic pride. i think that's a pretty healthy thing to have a little ethnic pride. so i not only found -- i didn't find fault with a wise latina
woman i thought it was commendable, and then the business of empathy. there is no doubt about the history of the constitution in our country responding to empat empathy. the life of the law section appearance, not logic, core de la osa and palko, shifting values, plessy versus ferguson, 1896, separate but equal, warren versus board of education, shifting values at time and that's what makes this country so great. one grave concern or the one regret i have about judge sotomayor's testimony was her extreme caution, just extreme caution, and i don't know if it was her decision or if it was --
if that attitude was promoted by her advisers, but there's no doubt well publicized that in the white house there are so-called murde boards where the nominees are prepared, and that's fine. they ought to be prepared, but the hearings did not produce a whole lot about what judge sotomayor's philosophy is or ideology. to pick a couple of words or her approach, if you see me dab at my eyes, i'm not -- i'm not sad, it's chemotherapy and i've made the clean "x" industry wealthy. i'm glad to say i'm fit as a fiddle and ready for re-election, not infirmed in any way, just a little -- just a little consequence of
chemotherapy, but i make that comment because people wonder about it. there has grown up a myth about judge bork's confirmation hearing, and the myth is that he was porked. they have turned into a verb or maybe it's a par tis pal, i'm not sure what form it is, except that i know it's not true. judge bork answered a great many questions because of his writings and because of his background. he believed in original intent, and he did not believe that the equal protection clause applied beyond, as he put it, race and ethnicity, did not apply to women, did not apply to disabled, did not apply to a litany of supreme court de he did not believe that it was
appropriate to incorporate the 10 amendments were a number of the 10 amendments to apply to the states because of a rest of the due process. when i asked him how he would have desegregated the district of columbia schools, in a context where equal protection applied to states, brown vs. board of education, the was a companion case with the d.c. schools and the supreme court had decided that the due process clause of the 14th amendment inc. equal protection. when i asked him how he would desegregate the d.c. schools, his cancer was i wanted reasons. he came back and he talked about freedom of association. so this judge wrote about this
as an obscenity case and testified in the a free speech. indiana" as an obscenity case and testified about it as a free speech case. judge bork didn't know his own record, and it would be my hope that we could structure some rules after justice scalia answered virtually no questions, after justice scalia answered no questions, senator deconcini and i considered having a resolution in the senate to set a standard. well, you can't set a standard for senators on questions, and you can't set a standard for nominees to answer questions and they take their chances. if a nominee were to be rejected for not answering questions, it might set a standard, a tone, but that's not going to happen.
when i asked judge sotomayor if she agreed with chief justice roberts that the supreme court could take more cases, it seemed to me that that was as soft a softball as you could find. of a i cited the statistics the supreme court decided 451 cases in 1886, century later in 1985, 161 written opinions, and in the 2007 term 67 written opinions. it's time we televised the supreme court so the american people can see what they don't do. what they don't do on deciding circuit splits, but i won't elaborate upon that point now because i've done that in the past. on "roe v. wade" there are a lot of people in america looking for a little assurance on "roe v. wade." well, i'm pretty confident how
judge sotomayor will decide the issue of a woman's right to choose, but not because of anything she testified to, and you don't have to make case a super precedent but you can say when the court has had 38 occasions to reverse "roe" and hasn't done so that that's a weighty factor and saying it's a weighty factor is well within the range of the generalizations. and i could -- i could enumerate quite a number of other questions i asked her and asking a nominee questions is hard. we all have a very limited amount of time, and i didn't like interrupting her a little. there's been some commentary on that. a couple of people said that it was not appropriate since she wasn't answering the questions. and a lot of questions were being asked to ask the questions.
i think these nomination proceedings are really very good for the country, very important to educate the country and remind the supreme court that when they have standards like proportionate and what's the other half of proportionate, proportionate and whatever -- can't remember, proportionate congruent, thank you, seem. did you say so, senator sessions? i applaud you. >> you taught me that phrase. >> and when you have chief justice roberts saying that he's not going to disagree with congress on finding the facts and then you have a voting rights case and all indications are that he does, those are matters to be pointed out. just one other comment about the fire fighters case. judge sotomayor's opponents thought they had her on that, but the critical question was did the
firefighters think she did anything about act in good faith. and both of them said they did not. so while there are concerns about the way she's answered the questions, we've got a lot to judge her on aside from her testimony. 17 years on the bench tell us enough to know that she is well qualified for the job. and it is my hope and i expressed it to her and got no response again, that she would run a hot advocacy role in the conference room like she has run a hot court and that her litigator background would lead her to a challenge. other justices in the conference room because there's no question about about the platte tuds we say about interpreting the constitution and statutes the
supreme court makes a lot of laws. they make a lot of laws and we have to trust their values that they are within the mainstream and within the bounds of what this country has stood for and should stand for in the future. i vote aye. thank you, chairman. >> thank you very much. and senator franken. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman, i want to join my colleagues in thanking you and the ranking member in the way you've conducted this hearing. i'm going to speak more about this on the senate floor so i'll keep my remarks brief. the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor comes at the critical moment for the supreme court, the current supreme court has consistently struck down and questioned long-standing critical protections for americans. and i'm talking about individual
rights, individual protections, individual liberties. i think some of my colleagues said this best. as senator feinstein mentioned, this supreme court ended a 30-year precedent stating that any measure regulating a woman's right to choose must always protect the health of the woman. as senator cardinand specter said, this supreme court came close to overturning critical portions of the voting rights act. the court did this despite the express powers that congress was granted under the 15th amendment to enact this law. and despite the fact that this body has reauthorized these measures four times, most pre t recently four years ago by a vote of 98-0. as the senators mentioned, the
supreme court reversed 100-year ban on price fixing under sherman act. this shifts the burden to consumers and small businesses to show price fixing. today thanks to this ruling a small business owner can't just show price fixing has occurred. he or she has to prove through a complex economic analysis that it will hurt competition. this is the same supreme court that said that older workers don't have the same rights in the workplace as minorities or women that made it harder to sue for age discrimination in the workplace, now harder, if not practically impossible for an older worker to sue an employee who fired him or her because her pension was about to increase dramatically in value. this is the same supreme court that stands poised to overturn
another 100-year principal the act of 1907, that corporations should not be spending money in our election campaigns. not in donations, ads, anything. the court upheld this principle in 2003 when it upheld mccain fine gold and the court considered to constitutionality of the provision it upheld six years ago. this is judicial activisactivis. this is a court that is more than willing to overturn congress to achieve its own agenda of what is right. and in this context, in these times, a vote for judge sotomayor is a vote against judicial activism. it's true as a lawyer judge
sotomayor was an advocate for the latino community. she was a dedicated advocate. but as my friend and colleague senator graham noted, on the floor of the senate, judge sotomayor's record, her record is not that of a judicial activist or that of an advocate for any individual or interest group. over 17 years and in 3,000 cases judge sotomayor has proven herself to be an objective and partial jurist, a fair judge, a fair judge. in her life, judge sotomayor has overcome a lot. more than most people who accomplished as much as she has. but her record alone, couple of minutes or be motioned to take up the floor, other
nominees and then have a voice call. the clerk will call the role of the nomination of sonia sotomayor to be justice of the u.s. supreme court. >> aye. >> aye. >> aye. >> aye. >> aye. >> aye. >> aye. >> mr. franken. >> aye. >> no. >> no. >> mr. grassley. >> no. >> no by proxy. >> mr. graham. >> aye. >> no by proxy. >> no by proxy. >> aye. >> 13
>> if you would like to learn more about sonia sotomayor, go to our website at c-span.org. join us next week for "america and the courts" saturday evenings 7:00 p.m. eastern on c- span. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> transportation secretary ray lahood is our guest on sunday on "newsmakers" at 10:00 a.m. eastern live on c-span. >> the declaration of independence was signed. q&a on sunday, author bruce
chadwick on "i am murder" which shocked the whole nation. >> how is c-span funded? >> i have no clue. >> government grants. >> donations. >> advertising for products. >> public money i am sure. >> how is c-span funded? america's cable companies created c-span as a public service, no government mandate or money. >> you are watching c-span, created for you as a public service by america's cable companies. up next, remarks on a president obama's health care proposal. and then a portrait unveiling in
the u.s. capitol. and after that, former president bill clinton talks about fighting childhood obesity. >> remarks of the minnesota gov. at the republican national committee meeting. he talked about president obama's health-care proposal and his own vision from the republican party. this begins with an introduction from michael steele which lasts about one -- half an hour. >> again, welcome. we are very excited about our guest speaker jut -- joining us today. he is helping as carry forth the message of the party and sharing with all of you the excitement that i see in here every day.
also i see the concern that they have about the direction our nation is headed when it comes to our financial market, the cars that we buy and own, the health care that we need some much. i think it'll be interesting to hear the insights from a governor who has had to deal with the challenges and stresses that the economy has had, but also who appreciates the hard work that it will take to put us back on the road to recovery. he is such a governor. he is regarded as one of the most energetic and innovative and accomplished governors that we have. he is a republican as well. [applause] . .
resources by generating 25% of the state's energy from renewable resources by 2025. he has been an innovator and leader in his state. as i have said since assuming this job as chairman, right now in our midst are republican governs who are it is laboratory, the backyard, if you will, where good things are happening. all we need now is to focus more attention on their way of solving problems as opposed to the way proposed out of washington. so it gives me great pleasure and pride to introduce to you one of our leading innovative governors, the governor from the great state of minnesota, governor tim pawlenty. [applause] >> thanks a lot. thank you very much. i appreciate that.
thank you. thanks a lot. thank you. thanks for the honor of being with you today. thank you. that is very nice. [applause] thank you. it is a delight to be with you today, as a speaker, as one voice from the heartland about the challenges and opportunities facing our great nation and party, i'm looking forward to doing that in a moment, but before i do, i want to thank my friend and our leader, chairman steele. chairman steele, your passion, your vision, your can-do attitude and optimistic outlook for our nation and our party are what we need right now. thank you four tremendous leadership and service. [applause] i also want to thank the members of the minnesota r.n.c. here. minnesota application are challenging. if you're a republican in minnesota, it is kind of like
being a polar bear in miami. it's a tough place to be a republican. but their steadfast leadership and commitment to our principles is making a difference. now we are moving forward in minnesota. [applause] we have 460 or so days to go until the 2010 election. there is a lot at stake for the future direction of our respective states and for the nation as a whole, and we all have work to do, and we all can play our part. for me, i am pleased and proud to have just become the vice chair of the republican governors' association. i am going to be joining the tremendous chair of that organization, the legendary haley barber. [applause] between haley and me, we've got both ends of the mississippi river covered as we try to return this party as the party of the nation. i want to start with breaking
news. you may not have heard this, but there is some developing news coming across the wire and the tv sets. apparently they are announcing that president obama is making great progress on climate change. he's turning the political claimant of our country back towards republicans. [applause] now as you know, in the eyes of many, president obama is cool, cool, cool. but the american people are figuring out he is wrong, wrong, wrong. [applause] this current presidency reflects a collision between the image and personality of president obama and the important lessons of history. as you know, he famously ran on the theme change we can believe
in. now we are starting to understand what he meant. what he meant by that is he wants to change what we believe in, and the american people in this country ain't buying it. now we all remember that president obama was a community organizer in his prior life. we need to remind president obama forcefully and strongly that the federal government is not our definition of community. [applause] there are some commentators and observers who say you know, i really don't think president obama knows what he's doing. i disagree with that. think from the liberal perspective, he knows exactly what he is doing. he is in the process of unleashing a flood of federal spending, and the greatest expansion of the federal government in the modern history of this country. it is time that we stand up to president obama.
it is time that we stand up for our principles, and it is time that we stand up as a republican party for the marine people and the taxpayers across this great land. [applause] now that's going to rerequire us ause republicans to be more than just the critics in chief. our strategy can't be i hope the other side goofs up and kicks it in the dugout. we have to be a party that is offering hopeful, meaningful, positive solutions for the challenges of this concern and the real concerns of our fellow citizens, and we need to state is it boldly. i want to tell you a true story about a construction worker working in suburban chicago on a seton hall water to your. he needed a tool out of his reach. he unwisely unhooked his safety harness and reached for the tool. unfortunately, he fell the full length of the water to your.
now surprisingly and miraculously he landed in a large and somewhat soft pile of dirt. he escaped serious injury. for a while it looked grave, and the emergency workers were sponge -- responding to this crisis. as they were picking him up gingerly,' thut him on a gurney three or four feet off the ground, he was overheard to say in a pleading, tremendous -- trembling voice, please don't drop me. as republicans, we have already had our foul. we need to move forward with strength and confidence that our party has got the right ideas and values moving forward. so let's get about the business and move forward. [applause] as you know, political movement
s who dare to speak the truth can inspire great change. and history has taught us that clearly and repeatedly. one example that we can learn from as a lesson is the polish independence move. i take great pride in this story because it is a great story and it is true, and because of my polish heritage. as you recall, the polish independence movement sparked the fall of the entire soviet empire. they adopted as their slogan a simple, common sense basic true proposition. and it was two plus two equals four. and the reason they did that is to borrow a sentiment, a frightening sentiment out of george or well's back, requests 1984" where it was essentially written that if the state tells
you two plus two equals five, it equals five. and if the state tells you two plus two equals three, it equals three. we need to speak the truth. our principles, our values resonate with the american people because they are not born of pop psychology or emotion. these are time-tested lessons based on the human experience and wisdom of the faith and insight of the founding fathers. they are served us well historically, and if we do it correctly, they will continue to serve us well as a political movement and a party. but we need to embrace them clearly and boldly. so we need to know what do we believe, and importantly, why do we believe it? and then we have to have the ability to communicate, and educate, and motivate, and mobilize, and change those sentiments into political action and the ability to govern and to he had lead. that is why we do what we do. and for all of us, part of what we believe is who we are and
where we come from. we have that as our experience and a lens through which we view a lot of events and circumstances. for me, i grew up in south st. paul minnesota. it is a suburb of st. paul. back when i grew up, it was the home of some of the world's largest meat packing plants and largest stack yards for a while, very much a blue collar town. it shut county precipitously. it was an enormous dislocation and a lot of moms and dads being laid off. but it was a great community and a great place to grow up. i want to tell you something about my family as a lens about the challenge we have in front of us as a republican party. my oldest sister has worked and continues to work as a secretary or administrative assistant for a company for 40-plus years in the same job. my older brother worked for
most of his career as a member of the united food and commercial workers, and for part of that time as a union organize iror steward working in the produce department of a grocery store. he worked there for 40 or so years. my other brother worked for a number of years and for much of his career in an oil refinery as a member of the chemical and atomic workers union. now he works for a municipality. my other sister, rose, is a one-on-one special ed aid for children who are disabled in the public schools, and she belongs as a member of that union. so you can imagine the political discussion around my house growing up was a little challenging. but interestingly, when we talked about the issues, when we talked about the merits, the values and beliefs of what we stood for, we would have a discussion that would touch on things. we would say do you really believe we should have our taxes increased? they would say no, we are
paying enough, especially in a state like minnesota. the government has got enough of our money. what about education? do you think we should plow mauer money into the system, or do you think we should be demanding accountability for results and performance? that sound good, yeah. what about health care? do you want the government taking the thing over, or do you think those decisions should be made by you and your doctor? yeah i like. that i'm with you on that. what about some of the more so-called hot button issues. what about guns and your second amendment rights? hey, we like to hunt and fish. don't mess with our guns. what about respecting and protecting life? we understand and respect that. well, then how come you are democrats? well, because you republicans, you are not for the working person. you know, you're not for us. have you ever heard that? still hear that? of course we do. so our challenge and our opportunity is to show people
like my family, then called reagan democrats. now i like to call them sam's club republicans. and why do we call them that? why do i like to refer to them as that? for this reason. people who shop at wal-mart and target. by the way, target is a minnesota company. but if you shop at wal-mart, or target, or sam's club, or comes co-or the like. you don't have as much money as you would like, or you have a limited amount of money. at the very least, you don't have more money to spend, and you shop there because you want good value for the money you do spend. that is a good sentiment for us as republicans. people don't want to spend more on government, but they want good value for the money we do spend. we have to communicate how our principles and values translate into a helpful and meaningful opportunity for them. so what do we believe? well, we believe that the success of our nation rides on
the growth of private enterprise, not the growth of government. [applause] and we believe in a limited and effective government. and by the way, there are important things that government needs to do. so we are not always anti-government, but we are anti-lousy results. and we believe that tyranny can take the form of a well-meaning but bungling and expanding bureaucracy that suffocates and strangles our entrepreneurial spirit. and we believe that history shows that weakness and equivocation is what tempts or enemies, foreign and otherwise, and that diplomacy only works if it is backed up by strength. and we believe that real community, real community, is most often found in our families, in our churches, in
our places of worship, in our neighborhoods, and even in individual acts of kindness and concern and love and caring. and most importantly, we believe in the paramount significance of freedom and liberty. we are not a great nation because god just happened to make us smarter than sh else on the face of the earth. we are a great nation because we are the freest people who have ever had the privilege to live in this great nation. [applause] and that is important because freedom allows ordinary people to do extraordinary things. it allows us to invent. it allows us to innovate. it allows us to dream. it allows us to create. it allows us to have aspirations in the pursuit of happiness that is different than much of the rest of the world. it gives us tremendous
advantage. it amplifies and celebrates the human spirit. and so we have an opportunity to showcase that as republicans. we want to be free so we can be entrepreneurs without being beaten down by the burden, regulation and heavy hand of government. we want to be free to choose our own doctor and make our own health care decisions. and we want to be free from the crushing debt that the federal government is dumping on us with no real concern about how it is going to be paid back either by us or, for that matter, our children and our grandchildren, and their children. we want to be free to send our children to a school of our choice that suits the needs of our family. i don't believe, and i know you don't believe, that nobody should be forced to have a child go to a bad school. [applause] >> so how do we apply that to
the emerging shoes issues, the topical issues of our time? in the time i have, wile touch on a few examples. one of them is spending. we have a situation where our federal government doesn't even try any more, doesn't even seriously pursue the goal of balancing the federal budget. we need to tell the truth. you cannot defy the financial laws of gravity and not have that come back and haunt us in ways that are horrific. we are going to have the federal government equivalent of the mortgage meltdown if we do not get hold of this and begin to change it. and let's also tell the truth. it hasn't mattered a ton whether we sent some republicans to the white house or congress or democrats to the whitehouse or congress in terms of the general trend line. it has been mostly up. if we are going to be the party of keeping a lid on spending or having fiscal discipline, then we have to walk the walk. and when we send our team to washington under the banner and
with the jersey of the republican party, we need to expect and demand that they do that. and we lost our way. [applause] now the american people get this especially now. they are tightening their belts . they are being asked to live within their means. they are living on less for now, and they expect and understand that government should do the same thing, and we should. we should deliver that for the american people. the only thing growing faster than the federal government's deficit is chris matthew's man crush on barack obama. [laughter] president obama said in a recent interview, "we're out of money. we don't have any more money." well with all due respect, mr.
president, if we're out of money, stop spending it. [applause] in the war on spending, president obama is a pass fist. this is unlike the minnesota experience. i'm not proud of the fact that my state has had a very robust spending patter throughout its history. but we have begun to change that trend line. minnesota has been a state for 150 years. we celebrated our 150th anniversary a year ago. so as far as we can tell, from two-year budget cycle to two-year budget cycle, spending has never gone down until i became govern. we have cut spending for the first time in 150 years.
[applause] we have also had the long-standing goal of getting minnesota at least out of the top 10 in taxes, at least to flirt with number one, two or three. the governors have said can we at least get out of the top 10. finally the department of labor said we got out of the top 10. i think we are at number 11, but we are making progress. i want to touch briefly on health care because it is so important. let's not just be the party that says we are not going to do anything. clearly the health care system is broken. we have families, smalls businesses, school districts, counties, states and the federal government are having their financial backs broken by the crushing weight of this the cost of this current system. as we do this, we have to be truth-tellers and common-sensical. >> we are going to control
costs by spending more. that is like saying we are going to balance the checkbook by writing more checks. it ain't gonna work, and we know that is not going to work. this is a scheme that would make bernie madoff blush. it ain't gonna work. now, another part of the plan, and there is so much, i won't go into all of it -- but they want to create a so-called government option to compete with the private sector in providing health care services. the rationale for that is we want to keep the private sector honest. now ponder that for a moment. what is next, chairman steele? if the price of toilet paper is too high, if the price of doord rant or tooth paste is too high, or the price of towels too high, is the government
going to start a government wal-mart, target or cosco to keep prices honest and down? if we don't like the price of potatoes, are we going to have the federal government start a potato farm to keep the farmers honest? i mean it is an absurd proposition, and we need to fight that. what can we do as republicans affirmatively and positively? the list is long, but let me give you some examples. we can do this on a bipartisan basis. we need to get rid of junk lawsuits and have tougher standards for medical malpractice claims. [applause] >> we need to acknowledge that if you get sick, that shouldn't preclude you from getting insurance in the future. and so we need to prohibit and limit the ability of insurance companies to box people out or keep them frozen out of the insurance system just because of a preexisting condition. we need to have what is called portability so that in this
mobile society, people switch from job to job, they don't have to risk losing their insurance every time they change jobs. we need to switch the system from paying for volumes of procedures to paying for better health care and better health care outcome. we have done that in minnesota, and it works dramatically. but think about what we have now. if we are paying for volumes of procedures, what do you think we are going to get? volumes of procedures. so we want to pay for better health care outcomes and make that pivot. we can do better in chronic disease management where so much of the money goes. if we can get people to the best care, we can get not only better outcomes, but more efficiency. by the way, in the internet world, why should i in minnesota or you in maryland, or you anywhere else, be limited in your health care purchasing choices to just your state? in the world of the internet, why can't i go on and buy my insurance with a competing entity in california, or
vermont, or germany or wherever i feel like it? why does the government have to tell me my market is the basically three semimonopoly health care insurance companies or h.m.o.'s in minnesota? let's open that mark up for risk pools and purchasing. there are loads of things that we can do to improve this system. and finally i just want to touch on foreign affairs. we have as a first priority, a first responsibility for our federal government to protect and defend this nation and its people. like you, i'm very worried about the threat that this nation faces. we need to remember that pretty speeches don't defeat or intimidate tyrants and thugs. we need to make sure we remember, like i said earlier, that it is weakness that tempts our enemies. we have a situation now where president obama recently said that he believes iran has a right to develop nuclear energy as long as it is for severalian
-- civilian purposes, or nuclear capability as lock as it is for civilian purposes. let me get this straight. president obama won't allow america to develop and expand nuclear energy, but it is ok for iran to do it? [applause] we need to stand with our friend who share our values and principles. we need to keep our guard up. there are a lot of troubling signs on the horizon, hibts that maybe the administration well reconsider the defensive missile stand. you can't pull the rug out from underneath them. it was recently written to the obama administration saying please don't do that. when you look at the defense
budget, you see missile defense capabilities potentially being reduced in funding in places like stea where alaska and north korea are more and more of a threat. and 80% of the discretionary spending cuts coming out of the department of defense. let me close by saying that to renumeric, we must apply the values that founded our party and made our nation great and guided it through all these years. as you know, i'm a republican in a traditionally democratic state. we were able to cut the size of government. we were able to contain our tax burdens and move minnesota out of the top 10 and move forward with americanizing our energy sources, reform our health care system, even with a divided government. we need that kind of renewal in washington. we need that strong republican voice in washington, d.c. so that conservative solutions can address these problems. and we are going to need it in
our state capitols across this nation. i respect that those who don't agree with us is also an important part of moving forward. we need an opportunity to reach out to those who are not yet republicans by getting more democrats and independents to see the wisdom and value of supporting us. as ronald reagan said, somebody who disagrees with us 80% of the time isn't our enemy. they are our friend. we need a coalition that says yes, we are going to be the republican party, strong and proud, but we are going to have room for conservative democrats and independents so we can govern with that coalition in mind. let's be proud of who we are. let's believe what we believe, but let's be sure that we welcome others who are not yet republicans the opportunity to experience our values and principles. as republicans we led the nation through the civil war, and we ended slavery. we are conservatives, and we led the nation in free market
solutions that have created the greatest economy in the world. and we are americans, and we know that every challenge today opens the door to another opportunity and a brighter future tomorrow. so applying those principles to the issues of our time i think is a great opportunity. it is what we owe ourselves as a party. it's what we owe our nation and our future. nothing else, nothing more, and nothing less. thank you for the chance to speak to you today, and thank you for what you do for our party and the conservative movement. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
democratic national committee released a response to governor pawlenty's speech saying in part that he and other republican politicians appeal only to the far right wing of their party and are not offering solutions to current problems. to read the entire statement, visit the democratic national committee's website at democrats.org. still to come on c-span, the portrait unveiling in the u.s. capitol for former house speaker dennis hastert. later, former president bill clinton talking about childhood obesity. and then a discussion on race relations in the u.s.
starting tuesday, the full senate debates the nomination of sonia sotomayor for smk justice. watch live on c-span 2 and c-span.org. coming this fall, tour the home to america's highest court, the supreme court. and now the portrait unveiling in the u.s. capitol for former house speaker dennis hastert. he was the longest serving speaker in history. we will hear from nancy pelosi and joan boehner, this is 40 points. >> speaker of the house, honored guests, and the 51st speaker of the house, the honorable j. dennis hastert. [applause]
your timeless love and hidden power. your countless blessings have graced the history of this nation, for you choose certain people to serve your own purpose for certain seasons and uncertain times. this afternoon we praise you, and we bless you, for the faith, service and leadership of the honorable j. dennis hastert, the 51st speaker of the united states house of representatives, chosen by the people of illinois, he was honored by the prefehrment of his associates. and now his portrait will hang with other makers of history as a tribute of his worth to the nation. as a man of faith, he accepted you as his lord and savior, so he never really asked how or
why as events were unveiled before him. as a hard-working family man, teacher and athletic coach, he simply responded with all the power you placed within him when he was called to serve. as speaker, he saw this institution as more than a game of winners and losers. he learned from the an sent -- an shents, it is an art, hoping to draw full potential for all of his team and even his opponents, his religious and professional experience taught him to walk tall, with humility. how to make strategic moves, and never take his eye off the clock, but use it to his advantage. when the most critical moment
occurred, you, lord, were with him. he drew from both sides of the i will -- aisle and both chambers. the people stood behind him on the steps of this building. there they would burst into song, and may these hallowed hauls echo -- doctor -- halls echo their song now and forever, god bless america. amen. >> please be seated. >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable robert michael. >> good afternoon, everyone. speaker nancy pelosi, leader
jonbenetter, my former colleagues, and those who have graduated from the house. ladies and gentlemen, having been retired from the house now for some 15 years, let me tell you it is always a thrill for me to be invited back for these special occasions, and particularly this one. there are rare occasions in american history when the country must call on untested leaders to protect, defend and secure the nation in times of crisis. when we were viciously attacked on our home soil in september of 2001, we had -- we did have such a leader serving as speaker of the house, a humble wrestling coach from my home spate of illinois. he brought people together and did what had to be done at the time.
political leadership takes many forms. we are all familiar with the so-called charismatic leadership filled with big visions and promises of heaven on earth. we know the dynamoes that bite off more than the country can chew at times. and we know the partisan's ideology and party loyalty rising above the national good. but there's a different kind of leadership. it is often overlooked because it is not flashy. it is not punctuated by fireworks displays, and it does not have the entertainment and sensationalism that attracts the media. it's a quiet, calm leadership. it holds things together long enough to provide us with a chance to rebuild.
history will record that when this great institution needed exactly that kind of leadership , denny hastert provided it. denny is a work horse, not a show horse. that is what attracted me to him from the very first time that i met him. that is what convinced me he was destined for leadership, and i tried to encourage that every time that i could. so today, i am very happy to join in this salute to my dear friend, the longest serving republican speaker of the house of representatives, j. denny hastert. [applause] and you will note in your program that congressman jerry cost low should be speaking at this particular point, but he
is retained back in illinois, having suffered agents accident. but he sent a letter that he asked me to read to you all. denny, ause know, i intended to be with you, your family and friends on this special day. unfortunately, i had an accident at my home this past sunday, and i am back in illinois having minor surgery today. however, i want to congratulate you on your service to our country. when members of the republican caucus elected you as speaker of the house, they chose the right person at the right time. as dean of the illinois delegations, let me say how proud members of our delegation are of you and your place in history. for you, your family and the people of our state. on a personal note, i want you to know that i have always
cherished your friendship, advice and your unwavering commitment to cross party lines to do what was in the best interests of the people of illinois. i will take great pride in looking up in the speaker's lobby, seeing the portrait of a good, honest everyday guy who rose to one of the highest positions in our great nation and reminding everyone that speaker hastert, the 51st speaker of the u.s. house of representatives was not only an excellent public serviceman from illinois, but he was also my dear personal friend. and finally, please give gene and your family my very best. sincerely, jerry costello. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, republican whip of the united
states house of representatives, the honorable eric canter. [applause] >> thank you. madam speaker, leader, speaker hastert and the entire family, it is an honor to be with you here today. this portrait unveiling is not too dissimilar to one that occurred many years ago. it was in honor of admiral nelson, the great british admiral. and when it came time to unveil his portrait, the curtain came down, the portrait was on display, and someone asked the admiral what do you think? he said i mate it. take it back. re-- hate it. take it back, redo it, paint it
warts and all. that is where the saying warts and all came from. but i think it says a lot not only about admiral nelson. it does speak to us here in this town in so many different ways. because often here in washington we are so consumed with the glamor, we are consumed with the perception. we preen about often without really getting much done. but not denny hastert. denny hastert was never one to support any of the showmanship. he was a man who came to washington and left that same man. and jean, i know you know this. all of us on both sides of the i'll -- aisle or extremely grateful for all that he did and that you and your family sacrificed not only for this house, but for this country.
thank you. [applause] as lettered -- leader michel said, he came from illinois. he is still that plain-spoken denny hastert, the former speaker of the house of representatives. if any of you read his book, you know he has worked on a farm. he has worked in a restaurant. he was a wrestling coach. he brought all those talents, along with an incredible thirst for knowledge and an understanding of history and economics that he brought to his job. he continued with his hard work. he was never about the galore -- glory. denny, i know you still care about the things that make this
country work. you care about columbia. you cared about making sure that prescription drugs were there for our seniors. you went about your job in the most no-nonsense way i think any of us have ever seen in this town. it is with that great humility and commitment to this country that we honor denny hastert today. [applause] >> so when the curtain comes down, and we see that portrait, i am sure, jean, no warts, that is a tribute. but i believe the lasting tribute that we all can pay and continue with to denny hastert is to try and remember those values that are ever present in this man and continue to allow them to guide the way that we
conduct the people's business in this house. thank you very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, republican leader of the united states house of representatives, the honorable john baner. >> thank you. madam speaker, leader michel, my colleagues and friends, thanks for being here today. we welcome back two special guests. speaker denny hastert, and as importantly, his wife, jean. we all know that life in congress can be demanding, so we give you a special thanks for all of your support and patience over the years. today we honor someone who's official title in the history books will be recorded as
speaker. but for all of us who served with minimum and know him, denny will still just be the coach. you know, the coach -- i remember consider it a privilege to have worked with denny because he has a deep love and appreciation for this house. and i also appreciated the opportunity to get to know him because he's a decent and honest man and someone that is easy to work with. the coach is also a quiet man who always put the good of his team first. in 2006 i worked closely with speaker hastert to put the first earmark reforms in place in modern history. and without denny, those reforms would not have been possible. i think all of you know that denny was a tireless campaigner for health care reform. and i remember as a freshman member of this body in 1991
when leader michel appointed denny to lead a health care task force. well, denny, we are still at it. [laughter] but many of the health care reform ideas that were developed back in the early 1990's really were far ahead of their team. it is interesting that it is only now that washington is catching up. but the history books will also say that the speaker of the house, as speaker, denny placed a graceful touch on a very difficult job. around here the house by design is much more ram bummings doctor ram bush administration that other parts of our government. and denny always had this calm steady hand that awful us will remember. but he was a firm leader dedicated to america's prosperity and america's
defense. coach, throughout these many years, you consistently proved your loyalty, graciousness, integrity and skill. we miss your wise counsel. enjoy this day. enjoy this honor, and we welcome your family here as well today. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. [applause] >> today we come together to salute speaker hastert for his leadership, his decency and his long record of distinguished service to the congress. as all of my colleagues i am
sure would atest who have spoken, looking around here you see the continuity of the congress. it is almost like a family. of course we have bob michel, the former republican leader in the congress. and not only that, we have his successor from peoria, who is the secretary of transportation, ray lahood. we see the dean of the congress of the united states, john denyingle, the longest serving republican in the house of representatives. and we see many great leaders who have served since he came to congress. and so we all join to welcome the michel family, and thank you for sharing dennis hastert with us for such a long time. it is a special tribute to say
that we are joined by leader bob michel. almost all of speaker hastert's life as you heard has been devoted to public service. he came in into government service after 16 years as a teacher. what better service to our country than that? and as you know, as a coach he put those skills to go use in this body. ever proud of his roots, he brought the values of the heartland and illinois' 14th district to the speaker's office. as a member of congress, dennis hastert served with distinction. as speaker he broke records, becoming the longest serving republican speaker in history. on other occasions i have said long may his record stand. but not today. [laughter] this is a testament to his leadership within the republican conference and also
within the halls of congress. though we may not have always agreed on issues, not always, speaker hastert and i, and all of you here today agree on the importance of public service. distinguished public service has been the hallmark of speaker hastert's career, whether in the classroom or in the house of representatives. today we recognize speaker hastert's wife, jean, and his two children, ethan and joshua, and his grandchild, who has been leading the applause in the front row here. as we all know, the speaker has left congress with a great legacy of leadership and service. he also gave a very special gift to america. the chaplain and leader michel have already referenced his leadership at the time of 9/11. i would also like to thank him once again and publicly for a
great gift. several years ago thousands of americans streamed into the rotunda of the capitol. they came to pay their final respects to rosa parks, the first woman to ever lie in state in the capitol of the united states. that would not have been possible without the leadership of dennis hastert to make it so. thank you, dennis, for that. [applause] in congress we hold the title honorable by virtue of our office. dennis hastert holds that title by virtue of his character. speaker hastert's presence will now again grace these halls every day. his portrait will hang or stand it says here in testament to his leadership and his
dennis hastert. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, that was of course pulling the rip cord. the very geneial jean hastert, the speaker's wife. and we have his son in front of us here. eeth ann, if you will -- ethan, if you will stand and be ack nothinged, and his wife, heidi? [applause] >> and their little son, jack.
>> so, mr. speaker, i'm sure these folks would love to hear from you personally for whatever remarks you choose to make. >> thank you very much. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. madam speaker, thank you for hosting this program today and for the great courtesies you have shown me as a former speaker of this house.
in a town that thrives on partisan divide, you have treated this republican well on multiple occasions, and those kind gestures have not gone unnoticed, and i thank you. i also want to thank laurel beck, for her incredible work on this portrait. not to downplay the subject matter she was working with, but it is easy to see how she became one of our nation's finest artists. [applause] please stand. [applause] i have to tell you, it's an honor to be back in this hall and hear such kind words from former colleagues and others for whom i have the highest
level of respect. it is even more meaningful to be surrounded by family, to have my wife of almost 40 years, jean, here, along with my son, ethan, his wife, heidi and our first grandson, jack. he think he is number one grandson, too. as i have sold jean, i'm very lucky. most people have to wait until their obituaries are printed to have such nice things said about them. and this certainly beats the alternative. [laughter] this really is a great honor, and it is incredible to look around and see the faces that you have worked with, that you've struggled with, and to think back on our time together . i think about the friendships and the guidance, especially the friendship of my mentor,
bob michel, who is here today. he has meant so much to me over the years. and over the countless hours spent working with members of the illinois delegation, people like jerry, john and ray lahood, who focused on results for our state and not party affiliation. it reminds me of the many republican colleagues whom i have had the honor to serve with in the house of representatives and in leadership. and i will be in trouble because i am going to name some names. i am not going to name everybody. certainly eric, who spoke here, john dryer, david, roy blunt, and jonbenetter and so many others sitting here. i am rimmeded of the hard-working staff, those members who became my family over the years, lifetime
>> or 12 years later in 199, when i took the responsibility as the speaker and took it where i was most comfortable. and i think of our country and our government and how it changed on september 11, 2001, and what was it was like to be in this building on that day, it was incredible. and needless to say, when i entered the congress, i would not believe that this wrestling
coach from illinois would have the opportunity to lead this country. and i am humbled in the time since and also of what we have accomplished together. we have made gains and made tax-free health savings accounts, and on drug coverage for seniors and modernizing medicare for the 21st century. and allowing for working americans to keep more earnings and more than seven million jobs in over three years. and focused on improvements that made a real difference in people's lives. things like the social security earnings test and roads and bridges and other facets of our network. and when this became a war-time congress with the most
devastating attack in our history. we worked together not as republicans or democrats but as americans, to do what was necessary to defend our nation. history will be the best judge of performance. but i can tell you today it was the highest privilege to serve here, doing the work of this country. and ultimately that's the greatness of this place. of the people's house. this is the one institution where citizen-lawmakers from every corner of the country, come to hash out ideas and to battle peacefully over legislation that we have different opinions on, and to do what is right for the american people. and it is a testament to this, the people's house, that this teacher and coach from illinois could be the longest serving
republican speaker of the house in american history. and it's been an incredible journey, and honor. and i thank all of you, not only for being here today, but also for your continued work to strengthen what is already the greatest nation on earth. i thank you for your efforts, and for your friendship. may god bless you and may god bless america. thank you. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, dr. chuck wright will now deliver the benediction. >> god our father, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart in this prayer to you, be acceptable to you and be used of you to honor former speaker, j.dennis hastert. thank you first of all, our loving god, for his years of service to this house and to our nation. we also honor in conclusion
today his loving and supportive wife, jean. and we thank you and thank his sons, josh and ethan, for giving up their father to us. may this family be blessed, honored and encouraged by the dedication of his portrait this afternoon. this portrait honors the man who became speaker. called in from a rural small town like king david long ago, who was called from caring from the flocks in the desert, he was unknown, but called to lead his nation. thank you for that intercall
you gave to denny in his teens. when he heard your voice and agreed to follow you that loving call to the heart. from the lord jesus christ. like his loving saviour, he came to this house, not for power or position. but he came to serve. after this portrait takes its place with all the speakers of the past, we ask you lord, that when grade schoolchildren, high schoolers, new members of congress ask before this portrait, who is this? may they be told here is a speaker who was simply of the people, by the people, and for
the people. we ask you lord, that in the years to come, this man and his family may remember your love each morning, and your faithfulness each evening. and may we who gather here remember speaker j. dennis hastert to be a person we loved, who is and appears to be like a tree that flourishes, a friend to trust in god's unfailing love, in helping in the name of jesus all he comes to serve in the future. and in conclusion, like that other unknown young man from illinois, who in his address at
gettysberg, may all who serve in this house be an answer to that prayer. that we may be a government under god, of the people, by the people, and for the people. in the loving name of jesus, amen. >> ladies and gentlemen thank you for joining us today. there will be a reception immediately following the ceremony in the rayburn room, please remain in your seats for the departure of the official party.
>> here's a look at our schedule, coming up next, former president bill clinton talks about fighting childhood obesity. after that a talk about race relations in the united states, and later govern tim pawlenty on the governors schedule and his own division of the republican party. the senate returns monday at 2 eastern to discuss the agriculture majority spending bill. and senators could take up a measure already passed by the house to give $2 billion to the clunkers program. and to give debate on sotomayor.
and the house finished his legislative work on friday and adjourned until september 8. health care will be on the agenda when they get back. and on friday night there was health care bill approved 31-28. the last to mark up a version of that legislation. >> and now former president bill clinton on his partnership of his association and the american heart association regarding childhood obeseit. this is about 45 minutes. >> thank you, thank you.
thank you. thank you very much. dr. freedman and admiral gosman, thank you for being here. and i was reminded when the doctor said i had a foundation in new york, his former hometown. they was kidding him backstage that hillary and i, as you know we have a daughter we are proud of. and she left the private sector and went back to graduate school in public health. [applause] one of the things she hoped to do was spend this summer working in new york city for
dr. freedman and another person he ripped out of his department to make new york the most successful city in the country in transition to electronic medical records. i want you to know doc, she was still there on the job. and i say that because this whole issue of public health, we are here to talk about childhood obesity and it's become an obsession of mine. but i want to say in general, it is a public health issue that cannot be dealt with entirely in the confines of a medical office. and you don't want it to get to the point that all cases are dealt with in the confines of a hospital or pharmaceutical response. and it seems to me that in that
way, the childhood obesity problem is a microcasm of the whole thing within health care reform. i didn't come here to give a talk about it, and it's beyond my pay grade now, i don't have to think about it. except for all of these debates about what change will save what money, have a familiar ring. and actually always give aid and comfort to the forces of the status quo that are spending more money on this in any system in history or nonsystem. so the truth is that we have to change the delivery system of a lot of things in america, from energy to education to health care. this is a delivery system issue.
and cultural issues really require us to go back and have a broader definition of delivery. so that's why you are all here. really, you are a part of with this childhood obesity initiative, america's attempt to reimagine how we take on our challenges in an interdependent world where we are all crashing up against one another. dwrs -- divorce is not an option, we can't get away from each other. it's too unstable and unequal and because of a climate change unsustainitable. in a world like that, you have to build new partnerships to build up the positive forces and reduce the negative forces of interdependence, that's how we confront this childhood
obesity issue. we were talking about on my way out here, ireland has a national campaign and u.k. has a national campaign against it. and india has a campaign against it, and with their interesting diet, as they are chunking it with fast-foods, and people are too busy and have limited amounts of disposable income. the other night i went to the annual intercity food bank. and it's wonderful, they are terrific. and they were honoring my friend, jon bon jovi, that's a good citizen, and i was by and supporting then. food bank has lost a lot of money because of the collapse
of so many wall street institutions and financial efforts. and they feed a huge number of people, our food bank does every year. they were saying, we may have a million more people in new york city who are short of food because of this economic collapse. and the ultimate irony of that struck me, because we have more people who are at risk of childhood obesity in new york city. how can that be? >> because of the way that instability and inequality play out in society. the children at the risk of being hungry are on the other side of knife's edge of being obese. and those who are susceptible to being obesity are at the
risk of barely being able to pay their kids and have kids and are busy and think they don't have time to fix food and spend the bulk of their income on fast-food. there are other reasons for it, but the big numbers are coming out of the huge social changes. i say that because i am very grateful that you have recognized the alliance for america, and i am profoundly grateful to the people who are running the program, including jenny our executive director, you will hear from her later in your meeting and jessica, who develops our healthy school program. and i am grateful to the
foundation that funds the healthy school program. it's important to see the social and economic context of this. because if we want to change this, we have to change what goes on at home and in the community and in the neighborhood. and in the schools. if we want to change it, we have to give people rational information and understand both the economic and psychological pressures that have made this perhaps the number one public health problem in the country. certainly put the younger generation the first in the history of our country, to have a shorter life span than their parents. i used to say that we had a young nine-year-old diagnosed with type ii diabetes and ran
into a woman who told me she just had seen a nine-year-old girl in washington, d.c. with type ii diabetes. we are told we can't refer to it as adult onset diabetes. so that's the setting for this. high stakes, deep causes, but i think a lot of reason to hope. next week we are going to have our annual program recognizing the schools in our alliance that we believe are doing the best. jessica will talk more about that and i am sure jenny will. but we are working in more than 5,000 schools, and they are
reaching more than 2.7 million children. and every year we have a meeting and recognize the ones that we believe have done outstanding work. we will have 114 from around the country. but we actually try to keep score on all of them, to measure the results they are achieving and tie them as specifically as possible to the things they are doing. in the three years we have been working with the school, more than three-quarters of the schools seem to be making good progress. and they seem to be successful in engaging a large number of parents. some of you have seen that we did some work with rachel ray. but we recognized two mothers, one from north carolina and one from indiana and they in one
and two and five dollar contributions, to provide exercise and recreational facilities at their schools. we are beginning to change the culter here. and i think that the healthy school program has made a big difference. but we don't want to be naive about this. california was one of our best opportunities because arnold schwarzenegger thought it was a good idea and to work with me in a bipartisan fashion, and back when they had money, they hired teachers and for the equipment in the schools. and i went to california and i saw things in ordinary public schools and lower-income areas, that i have not seen in decades. and we have to acknowledge there are consequences of the economic downturn.
but it's important to say from me, that the healthy school programs has been a great success because you get both the particular benefits of what the particular things they are doing. and a change in the cultural attitude. students going home and getting their parents involved. and parents getting interested, they are finally trying to do something to help me raise my children better. and enter generational efforts to eat better and exercise more. and this school program has made a big difference and none would be possible without the robert wood foundation and those that we get around the country and local settings. that we hope to expand dramatically. i want to talk if i might, about the alliance for healthy generation, and the other things that we do. according to the figures
released by the c.d.c. today, obesity costs the country estimated $47 billion a year in direct health care costs. i personally believe that's quite conservative. that's direct, not indirect. most of our analyses when i was president, indicated that the medicaid program alone had 20% of its costs generated by diabetes and its consequences. now that included type i and type ii, and type ii is our health problem and that's the one that you can control. so the $147 billion is this terrific number. they have a huge debate in congress, with people that don't really understand that we spend 16% of our income on health care, none of our
competitors spend more than 11. switzerland spends 12 because they have an old population and disperse and rural communities. canada is at 11 and france and germany at 10. and both of their systems better regulated than ours. and the only one under 10 is u.k., because the employees all work for the government, in the u.k. those who get government salaries, you understand that, they hold the costs down. and even there to modernize the u.k. system they are up to 9% of gdp. so we know that it takes 10% of your gross domestic product to run a first-class system in a country in good times, with the
challenges we all face. and we know that all of our competitors have been able to do it between 10-11% and we have to spend 16.5% and to leave lots of people uninsured or worse, and when the president comes in and tries to fix it, the naysayers are saying that it's more expensive and as if they are blameless for this system we have. to be fair to them in the eyes of washington, d.c., we you know strain at a lot of gnats while we swallow camels. that's what happens here, because people don't understand
the impact of certain assumptions and one of them is this. i say that because the difference in what we spend in canada does is about $800 billion a year in today's dollars. or well over four times what it would cost to provide health insurance to every man, woman and child in america without insurance. and mckensy and company did two studies on this, one updated last year. that actually breakdown where the cost differentials are and what the likely consequences on quality. but it really doesn't go to the heart of cultural/behavior systems that produce problems like the childhood obesity problem. if you just look at this, $147
billion is roughly 20% of the differential. and if we could get rid of it, it's more than what we need to cover everybody. it's just something that you should all think about. the most important thing is to save the kids' lives and give them a future. but it's important to see it in the context of the debate unfolding in washington. then there is a new debate here trying to bat away every change. for a long time i thought we were making progress in this health care year. because the administration was making a really strong case that we had to fund more primary and preventive care. and we had to set up basic care networks and to stop bad things
happening. and the people start producing articles, and you know, this might not save us money, because we will spend primary and preventive care on people that would not have gotten sick. and people at real risk, their primary prevention will cost a lot. it may be a nice thing to do, but we may not make money on it. give me a break. i say that -- [applause] you know, it's kind of fun when you are not in it anymore, you sit up in a peanut gallery. and i can see who to baseball managers send up to bat and what they are trying to do to
get them to strike out. and i don't like it. cause it really matters what happens here. it matters whether we save this generation of kids. it matters whether we save our country's health system. and because i believe we can't make an affordable universal health plan without a thicker, more effective public health program that includes more and more people that have some means and in effect pay membership fees, like you join health plans today. i want this to work. but let's go back to the primary prevention thing. last year the trust for america's health said if we invested $10 a person per year, a whooping sum, on community based programs with proven results, to increase physical activity and improve nutrition
and prevent smoking, we could save the country more than $16 billion a year. that's a return of 5.60 on every dollar spent. avoiding future heart attacks, strokes and diabetes and some kinds of cancers. and just general ability. so it sounds like a pretty good deal to me. when all of these people get sick, we are going to pay for it, aren't we. so it's not true that all prevention winds up costing you more money. this prevention will save more than five times what it costs. i think it's important that all of you know this. we will talk later about what you should do.
but you need to go back and feel armed. we have all of these assumptions but the biggest to fight among the citizenry at large, ok, we spend more than anyone on health care but we are a rich country and must have the best health care system in the world. ok, some don't have health care, but that must be because they have to wait underwhat -- under what is in our system. it's important to have simple things you can say to explain to people why you have to do the stuff in the schools. why you have to do the stuff in the community. why you have to do all of these things. and why your government should give us health care reform. i think it's really, really important. let me just say, just a couple more words about what we do. most of the time i was in politics, i was in the kind of
debates i see going on in washington today. where the c.b. o. says, well, this is way more expensive than you thought, and a lot of things won't produce the savings you think and all that. and where government, where the people pushing for reform could fall under the trap, since the thing we need to do is change the delivery system, but we can't get credit for that. let's say we will cut medicaid and medicare, and provide more health providers up the wall and for fewer to be in the preventive care and get us back in the soup again. this is something we all need to think about. let me say that most of the debates in washington, you see it now in the health care debate. and saw it in the stimulus debate. they debate two questions, people in politics.
what are you going do? and how much money are you going to spend on it? >> there is relatively little time spent on the third question, which i take it as why dr. freedman was asked to assume his current position. and why the rest of us who know about his work in new york were thrilled when he agreed to do it. he asked the third question, how much money you have to spend on what you are going to do, how do you propose to turn your good intentions into positive changes? the how question in the end matters more than the how much question. not because money doesn't matter, because if you answer the how question, you can get more money for what you are trying to do. if you answer the how question in demonstrable ways, you are more likely at least to get adequate levels of in
investment. yet when most of the word wars go back and forth and washington are what is how much. but ho do you propose to turn your good intentions into positive changes matters. and that's what our healthy school program does. and i will say i do not believe there is a chance this we can solve the problem unless we do it in the homes, the schools, the restaurants, the communities. this is a social issue. we are trying to turn the titanic around before it hits the iceberg. and it is very much worth the effort. so let me just say a few words about the other things that we have tried to do. first, we do try to go into all of these places. the thing that is sometimes the
most fun for me, we have an advisory board of 25 absolutely terrific young people. who tell us whether these programs will have any impact at all on their generation. and it is true that sometimes we find that what we are absolutely sure they will respond to, they don't. and sometimes they respond to things we don't think they will, because all people when they get older are guilty of underestimating both the intelligence of the young and whether they are paying attention or not. to things that affect their own life. so these young people have done a great job for us. and we now have a by-kids, for-kids that was part of our partnership with nickelodian.
and i mentioned rachel ray, she's been one of our partners, and the way she fits into this. she tries to show very busy parents with limited amounts of money and time how they can use whatever money and time they do have to prepare more nutritious foods. and we work this with her, and i don't have any data, but i know that the show is highly rated and a lot of people watch the shows, in particular where we recognize what the mothers and schools are doing in carolina and indiana. we made agreements with the beverage industry and snack food industry to reduce the
calorie content of the products they sell in school vending machines. i learned a lot about this when i got into this. i went to a really big high school, by arkansas standards, i had 325 people in my senior class. and we had one vending machine in the whole school that sold a few soft drinks. and i had to learn all about the rise of the vending machines and the economics of the schools and how it funded that. but i can only tell you that the agreements we have reached have been pretty impressive. we got about three-quarters of our schools have observed the one of beverages and lead to 58% reduction of calorie content.
and snack foods it's about 41% less, and still substantial. and we just made an agreement with a school food provider, that serves 6,000 schools with meals to join us in the beverage and snack food agreement. we also have finally made a real important break-through that deals directly with this health care reform issue. i want you to think about this, and ask yourself whether would be a good thing or bad thing if this is part of health care reform. would it save money or not? these are the vexing questions that the congressional budget has to come to terms with. in the face of all the people, if you do that, it won't save you money. you tell me what you think.
this past february, the alliance announced our alliance health care initiative. a collaborative effort with national associations and to offer health care benefits to children and family to battle childhood obesity. to have preventive care available on a broader scale, and to have benchmarks. and that's a fancy way of saying they promise to enroll more people every year. and to systematic while we are doing this, to add to the science base on return of investment. i don't mean that anything i have said so far to be frivolous of the challenge that the congressional budget office faces.
but to say that the defenders of the existing system almost always have the short end of the stick if experience is any guide. it would be hard to spend less money than we do. but i recognize if you sit in that budget office you have to project to the future. we are trying to add to the science here on this piece of of prevention. now all the insurer and employer signers of this agreement, that are impressive. they include aetna and blue-cross/blue shield and we have pepsico and owens corning and nationwide children's hospital. and here is what they all have
agreed to do, they have agreed to offer four visits with a primary care practitioner a year and with four visits to a dietician a year for children ages 3-18. this is part of the normal benefit portfolio. and they consented to the number of the kids. we have almost one million kids covered by this already. in the last five months. and in the next couple of years, we are trying to get to 6.2 million that's the number necessary to cover all the overweight kids in the country, in the age group. so i am not sure we can get there, but we are working at it. and it's really impressive.
so the first thing i want to do is thank the insurers and the employers who are part of this. as well as the american academy of pediatrics and the dietician association that signed on to support this. this is really, really important. the final thing i want to say is that all of you can do something about this. i mean that's why we are here; right? and do i want you to lobby for health care reform? of course i do. do i want you to say, in the end primary and preventive actions will make us a healthier country and lower the cost of health care, whether the mathematic rules whether you can prove it or not and
don't strain a gnat and don't swallow a camel, of course i do. but keep in mind, most of us don't have a vote in congress, so all we can do is lobby. but we should spend most time answering the "how" question, i have a big climate change project, and i went to sweden to give this speech to a european group. and tony blair was there and the great noble prize winner was there, and they were giving these passionate speeches about what should be in the new climate change agreement that would be considered in copenhagen. and they asked me to close the meeting, and i said look, i love what they said. i love them, i love what they said, i agree with everyone they said. i have nothing to add to it.
i came all the way over here to tell you unless you are going to copenhagen and have a role there, or you have a vote in your local legislative body, you should stop coming to these meetings and go home and do something. do something. we are going to be tested by whether we do things that change people's lives. [applause] now i don't feel that way about you, because we haven't been doing this like in climate change for over a decade, where we have the broadly shared information base and the person running the building retrofit program is likely to know as much about the chairman committee, because we are working on this a long time. we are just getting into this,
i want you to spend people to meetings until we get more of a shared knowledge base. let's think of the things that still need to be done. we could better integrate obesity prevention with health and wellness and primary care by adding body mass index standards to well-care visits by children. a couple of states have done that already, why shouldn't we do that as a matter of course? why couldn't we benefit from more data? why shouldn't obesity be recognized as a stand alone condition to recognize of the reimbursement, not broadly but generally. why shouldn't we take this
obesity problem as a warning that we need to do a better job in america of considering health in all facets of our life? this is not just about going to the doctor's office. it's about whether you have sidewalks when they are new real estate developments. we need to examine, this is really the number one public health problem. we will really start building houses one day in america, and i would like to have a standard on energy, and we need to consider the new developments on the public health. we need to consider the impact on new school buildings on the public health. so we need to work this into every aspect. so it's not just educators and community leaders and food and
beverage people. i will give you another example, why shouldn't some of the stimulus money be given out to communities that have particular problems here. why shouldn't some of the money for education be set aside for this in the cities that have big issues. why shouldn't some of the stimulus money for capital projects like roads, be spent on development of city, state parks and tourism divisions that will directly empower poor neighborhoods and groups to have exercise facilities to combat this. why shouldn't this be part of the problem. the truth is that the federal stimulus gave money to cut that
crisis that states like my state, new york, face by about 50%. and made it go away in some states that weren't in such bad state. if you got this money and it helped you, why shouldn't some of that money have to be invested in creating recreational opportunities for low income people in urban areas that otherwise would not have it. what about rural areas when they are poor and there is a lot of obesity. do we know if it's possible to organize any kind of affirmative health opportunities? do they have access to the same level of health information? as dr. freedman was providing in new york. do they have access to the same kind of exercise opportunities?
there is a big rural obesity problem in america that cuts across racial lines. there have been a lot of generic research that shows vulnerability to diabetes in particular with enormous racial disparities. with american native and hispanic is next and european america next . that's given the constant diet and vulnerability. but in other consequences they are quite broadly shared and in rural areas of all who live there. do we understand how much harder it is for them to do this stuff than people in more populated areas? and is there something we should do in response to that?
>> i think that these things are really important. i think that some of you can answer these "how" questions better than i can right now. but i spend my life trying to answer these questions around the world and dealing with the problems of aids and malaria. we provided the highest cost of medicine in the world, all we did was change the volume. the aids problem is now a high-volume certain payment business, and now 2 million are staying alive. it was an answer to the "how" question. i think this is harder because it goes right to the core of everything from the way we organize society to the way people who are just over the
knife-edge of need have to manage their own budgets. to the incredible psychological pressures going on in people's lives to how our bodies react to the stuff that we can afford to take off the shelves. so we were all raised to believe in some way or another that an unexamined live is not worth living. we have to examine all of our lives and the lives of our friends and neighbors who are so busy to keep body and soul together and take care of the kids. they do not have to time to examine their lives and purchase foods and things, without help. this is a deeply challenging and difficult thing. but it is, i believe our number one public health problem. and a test of whether we are really committed to go forward
together, and not allow america to continue to be divided by accident of birth and the economic polarization that has gripped our country for 30 years now. you can do this, but no one can do it alone. therefore we all have to go home thinking about all the "how" questions and how we can answer them. thank you very much. [applause] >> congratulations, i am supposed to give you this. >> i am very grateful. >> thank you very much and your words are well appreciated by the group here.
[applause] >> thank you to all of our speakers and to president bill clinton, what an amazing way to open this conference. we are now concluded. >> up next the discussion on race relations not -- in the u.s. and then tim pawlenty on the health care proposal. and followed by jeff flake in his opposition on the earmark process and how money is
appropriated in congress. a discussion now on the current state and future of race relations in the united states. from this morning's "washington journal," this lasts about an hour. >> in the next hour, our guest armstrong williams, talk show host and a columnist, and joe madison. thank you gentleman for coming in. mr. madison, of the statements of the president and mr. gates, and the officer, what did this teach us about the race relations in the united states? guest: there is still a raw nerve, and there is politics. i am thinking about going to cambridge with our show, and
working with individuals there to have what we would refer to as a truth and reconciliation townhall meeting. the reason is that we have to finally reconcile the remanents of what existed not only in this country but globally for centuries. and the way you do that, you have to truthful on both sides of race relations. and it's not just a national issue or cambridge, but it's a global issue. >> i think it's taught us about individual experiences, how we view them. how we trust them and how they have impacted our lives. you have people who live in communities and in the south and they interact with police officers on a daily basis. they are friends and in church together and in school together and their kids.
so there is a connection. and you have a certain segment of society that do not trust police officers, based on history or the media. and i think what professor gates showed in his case was his relation and level of trust in the police officers. the police officer procedurally was doing his job. and professor gates was in his home and we can understand why disturbed after a long trip. still, someone called to report a burglary, and if they did not go to the home, that would be a case of race itch. -- racism. and the police officer did try to cooperate and it goes to how you view police officers and officers of the law in this country. that was not a situation about race. the sad news about this week,
that the president himself became involved. this is a president who has not used race as reverend sharpe and jesse jackson, and skip gates is his friend and felt obligated. and when he used this inflammatory comment about stupidly, it was more of a class of america. and americans were offended by it. i think that it damaged the president, and shouldn't have been involved. and even when he had the beer summit. it was acknowledged there were no apologies, they agreed to disagreed. he drug it and it needed to die. and as some saw this as an issue of race, most saw it as a police officer doing his job, and some